The name HASTLEONS is derived from the HAST of Hastings and the LEON of St Leonards.
The society’s first show was staged at the Gaiety Theatre in 1926, and was the 1898 piece Veronique. The Gaiety was the society’s home until 1932, when their Desert Song was the last live show before the theatre became the Gaiety Cinema. (After being the Classic, the Cannon and the ABC it finally became the Odeon, which it still is today.)
The Hastleons then moved to the Cinema De Luxe (on Marine Parade) until 1935. Since 1936, their home has been the White Rock Theatre (formerly the Pavilion) apart from a break during the war (1940 to 1946) when no shows were presented.
For a number of years the society rehearsed at various venues such as the Adelphi and Castle Hotels, moving to Newgate Road in 1971 for nine years until finally arriving at their current premises the Hastleon Hall in Bexhill Road opposite Judges.
We hope to add to this history from time to time, making use of the mass of archive material the Hastleons have.
The Hastleons have been producing musical theatre in Hastings for nearly 90 years. We aim to produce shows as close to a West End experience as possible, and although most of the participants are amateurs several have gone on to make careers in theatre and the arts.
We are a registered charity and receive no funding. All costs are met from ticket sales and fundraising events, and occasional one off donations. We try to ensure that a portion of all funds raised are donated to local causes -in the past St Michaels Hospice and Sussex Air Ambulance have received all profits from programme sales. We also give free use of the hall and any other support we can to Active Arts, a registered charity who run visual and performing arts classes for adults with learning disabilities.
We are run by an elected committee, who meet once a month to make final decisions on shows etc, but we are always open to suggestions. There is a suggestion box at the Hastleon Hall which is checked every meeting.
The committee is currently:
Chairman: Wendy Hamed
Vice Chairman: Richard Foster
Hon Treasurer/Business Manager: Duncan Spencer
Production and Membership Secretary: Liz Miller
Social Secretary: Chris Eyre
General Committee: Andrew Pilcher, Sophie Ringrose